The best leaf mulchers in 2024

We'll help you find the best leaf mulcher to tackle your fall cleanup.

Best overall

The WORX 12 TRIVAC 3-in-1 Electric Leaf Blower/Mulcher/Yard Vacuum sitting on top of a pile of leaves

WORX 12 Amp TRIVAC 3-in-1 Electric Leaf Blower/Mulcher/Yard Vacuum

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Best gas

landworks gas powered leaf mulcher

Landworks Mini Wood Chipper Shredder Mulcher

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Best budget

BLACK+DECKER Leaf Blower & Leaf Vacuum

BLACK+DECKER 3 in 1 Electric Leaf Blower

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Fall is gorgeous, but it’s also a grueling period for yard work, so a good leaf mulcher can come in handy. As stunning foliage falls from the trees, homeowners are faced with the Sisyphean task of clearing their yard of endlessly dropping debris. This step of lawn maintenance, important in preventing disease from hijacking your grass under the cover of wet leaves during the winter months, will be much easier if you have appropriate outdoor power equipment for the job. We’re here to help you identify the best leaf mulchers to clear your lawn and dispose of autumn debris.

How we chose the best leaf mulchers

Depending on your location, leaf disposal can be tricky. Some towns have a service for leaf pickup, but it often comes with a fee attached and the responsibility of tracking down a specific type of leaf bag. Other towns have a set location for residents to drop off their bagged leaves, which can be difficult if you don’t have a pickup truck to transport the hefty bags. 

A better option? Make leaf mulching a part of your yard maintenance. The process simply involves loading the leaves into a leaf shredder that cuts them up into tiny pieces, greatly reducing the heft of the load. Once shredded, leaves can be mulched around your plants and trees to retain moisture, protect from frost, and suppress weeds. 

Once you find the best leaf mulcher for your lawn care, disposing of leaves is a breeze. In compiling our recommendations, we looked at top brands and weighed a range of factors, including versatility, power, mulch ratio, ease of use, and price.

The best leaf mulchers: Reviews & Recommendations

Like any piece of outdoor power equipment, like a cordless leaf blower, an overwhelming number of leaf mulchers with different features are available for purchase. A little bit of research can ensure that your machine is tailored to your specific lawn care needs and worthy of space in your storage shed. We’ve gathered our recommendations and provided some tips below to consider when making your purchase.

Best overall: WORX 12 Amp TRIVAC 3-in-1 Electric Leaf Blower/Mulcher/Yard Vacuum

Best overall

WORX 12 Amp TRIVAC 3-in-1 Electric Leaf Blower/Mulcher/Yard Vacuum

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Specs

  • Type: Handheld
  • Power: Corded electric
  • Voltage: 120V
  • Mulch ratio: 16:1
  • Weight: 9 lbs.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Contains mulcher, blower, and vacuum
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Some users had problems with attachments

Why invest in three different tools when you can blow your leaves, mulch, and vacuum with one device? WORX 12 Amp TRIVAC 3-in-1 Electric Leaf Blower/Mulcher/Yard Vacuum is lightweight at 9 pounds, and changes functions with the turn of a dial. The lightweight, handheld tool features a metal impeller with a shredder blade that provides a 16:1 leaves-to-mulch ratio. Once the mulch is collected, the bag is easy to detach for removal. This tool also provides a powerful 600 CFM (cubic feet per minute) for leaf blowing and switches between two speeds. So ditch the rake and dispense with your leaves quickly and easily with this versatile option.

Best electric: WORX 12 Amp 3-in-1 Electric Blower/Mulcher/Vacuum

One-handed Operation

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Specs

  • Type: Handheld
  • Power: Corded electric
  • Voltage: 120V
  • Mulch ratio: 18:1
  • Weight: 9.3 lbs.

Pros

  • Versatile with mulcher, blower, and vacuum
  • Handheld
  • High mulch ratio
  • Environmentally friendly

Cons

  • Some users say suction is weak

This corded electric three-in-one model is lightweight but powerful. A simple switch quickly flips from blower to vacuum to mulching mode, and two speeds are available to accommodate different functions. It boasts an 18:1 mulching ratio, consolidating 18 bags of leaves into just one. As an electric device, this model is muted and environmentally friendly. 

Best gas: Landworks Mini Wood Chipper Shredder Mulcher

Powerful Gas Engine

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Specs

  • Type: Standalone
  • Power: Gas
  • Voltage: N/A
  • Mulch ratio: 15:1
  • Weight: 9.3 lbs.

Pros

  • Can handle heavy branches
  • Powerful engine
  • Professional quality

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No other tools
  • Not environmentally friendly

This Landworks machine has a mulching ratio of 15:1, and is able to tackle branches of up to 3 inches in diameter. You can adjust the discharge chute anywhere between 90 to 145 degrees for easy and efficient disposal. The 7HP engine takes 87 octane gas with no ethanol. This mulcher doesn’t have the versatility but can handle harder jobs.

Best standalone: SuperHandy Leaf Mulcher

Heavy Duty Debris Management

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Specs

  • Type: Standalone
  • Power: Electric
  • Voltage: 120V
  • Mulch ratio: 17:1
  • Weight: 46.5 lbs.

Pros

  • Can handle branches, leaves, and grass
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Affordable
  • High mulch ratio

Cons

  • Some users said it gets clogged
  • May not last long

The SuperHandy Leaf Mulcher is a smaller version of the SuperHandy Wood Chipper. While the mulcher can’t handle the sizable branches that the Wood Chipper can, it comes at a fraction of the price and is perfect for yearly leaf maintenance. It has a high 17:1 mulching ratio, and its electric belt-driven motor is quiet and eco-friendly. 

Best heavy-duty: Patriot Products 14 Amp Electric Wood Chipper/Leaf Shredder

Quiet and Powerful

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Specs

  • Type: Standalone
  • Power: Corded electric
  • Voltage: 110V
  • Mulch ratio: N/A
  • Weight: 95 lbs.

Pros

  • Chops branches up to 2 ½ inches in diameter
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Only one function
  • Heavy

This Patriot Products wood chipper/leaf shredder offers versatile performance for various levels of yard maintenance. A larger piece of outdoor power equipment, this electric mulcher remains smooth and quiet as it shreds leaves and chips branches up to 2 ½ inches in diameter. Simply slide your debris into the top of the feeder, and the mulch spits out the side.

Best budget: BLACK+DECKER 3 in 1 Electric Leaf Blower

Affordable and Great

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Specs

  • Type: Handheld
  • Power: Corded electric
  • Voltage: 120V
  • Mulch ratio: 10:1
  • Weight: 8.1 pounds

Pros

  • Easy on the wallet
  • Includes mulcher, vacuum, and blower
  • Environmentally friendly

Cons

  • Low mulch ratio
  • Some users say it didn’t last long

This blower has options for more attachments, but even the bare-bones model is a blower, vacuum, and mulcher all in one. The corded electric blower is lightweight and easy to use, and it shreds 10 bags of leaves into one. This option is great for homeowners looking for a basic, wallet-friendly mulcher. 

Things to consider when buying the best leaf mulchers

With so many variations of leaf mulchers available, first narrow your options down by deciding what style mulching machine you’re looking for: handheld or stand-alone. Stand-alone mulchers are stationary machines into which you feed collected leaves for shredding. You can carry a handheld machine around the yard, and vacuum leaves straight into the machine. Handheld mulchers usually function as a leaf blower as well.

Also, think about what power source is best for you. A gas-powered mulcher is an excellent choice if you want more power and want to avoid plugging in the device or charging batteries, but that comes at the cost of a heavier machine. An electric or battery-powered mulcher leaves you at the mercy of your power source (so maybe keep a portable power station handy)—but can be significantly lighter and easier to maneuver. 

Lastly, pay attention to the mulching ratio of your leaf shredder. The mulch ratio basically tells you how much the shredder will cut down your leaves: the highest ratio of 18:1 will reduce 18 bags of leaves to fit into one bag. When choosing the best leaf mulchers for your needs, consider how many bags of leaves you typically have in the fall and what you plan to do with them after they’re shredded—larger shreds are fine for mulching around your trees, while smaller shreds are better for composting.

Electric vs. gas

A handheld mulching machine gives you the benefit of turning the two steps of gathering the leaves and then mulching them into one step. Most models can blow, vacuum, and shred, so one swift trip around the yard completes the entire cleanup. 

Electric leaf mulchers are significantly lighter than their gas-powered counterparts. Collecting leaves is done with relative ease, and while you’ll need a battery or connection to a power source, you can use a long extension cord or keep an extra battery charging.

For extended use without a power cord or having to stop and recharge batteries, gas-powered mulchers keep going for a lot longer than an electric model. Gas-powered models tend to be more expensive than electric, but you get what you pay for with more power and faster cleanup—just remember to keep extra gas in the shed so you can start with a full tank. 

Handheld vs. standalone leaf mulchers

The majority of the best leaf mulchers are handheld and come with blower and vacuum functions, but a standalone leaf mulcher has only one function: shred leaves. This is perfect for handling heavier loads, and if you go for a higher-end model, you’re ultimately purchasing a wood chipper that can even deal with small tree limbs. We found smaller and heavy-duty models for more extreme yard work. 

Versatility

If you’re willing to fork over some more green for a more versatile machine, a heavier-duty leaf shredder can reduce twigs, branches, and acorns. This is optimal for cleaning up debris after storms and heavy winds knock limbs into your yard. These powerful devices can make yard maintenance quick and efficient and leave you with aesthetically pleasing mulch for your landscaping.

Price

If your fall yard maintenance tends to be a small and simple job, the best leaf mulcher for you shouldn’t have to break the bank. While cheap mulchers often coincide with a smaller capacity for collection and a less powerful engine, we’ve found inexpensive models on the market that are still strong and efficient. 

FAQs

Q: What leaves are not good for compost?

The leaves that won’t compost well are higher in lignin, a polymer that makes them feel rigid, almost wooden. High-lignin leaves include those found on beech trees, oaks, and sweet cherry trees. Also, avoid black walnut, eucalyptus, and poison ivy leaves, as they can be toxic. The best leaves for mulching have high levels of calcium and nitrogen and are low in lignin, like poplar, maple, and ash leaves.

Q: What is the best way to shred leaves?

If you don’t have many trees around the yard and your fall blanket is minimal, a lawn mower could work as a leaf shredder in a pinch—simply mow over the leaves and collect them in the mower’s bag attachment. However, with several price-friendly options on the market, it’s better to take the easier route and buy a leaf mulcher. A specialized leaf vacuum and mulcher does a more thorough job picking up the leaves and shreds smaller than a mower can. 

Q: What is the best 3-in-1 blower, vacuum, and mulcher?

DeWalt and Husqvarna are both popular outdoor equipment brands, and each has excellent 3-in-1 leaf machines, but our favorite is the WORX WG518, a 12-amp 2-speed leaf blower, vacuum, and mulcher. This is a corded model, so you’ll need a power source, but in return it’s lightweight and easy to carry. Its mulch ratio is on the higher end at 16:1, so if you have a large amount of leaves to consolidate, this machine does the trick. 

Final thoughts on the best leaf mulchers

Finding the best leaf mulcher to clean up your lawn this fall will take a lot of heavy lifting, and raking, off your shoulders. The 3-in-1 models are especially efficient and can operate as a leaf blower, vacuum, and mulcher all in one. Removing the bed of leaves from your yard is an essential part of your yard maintenance schedule, as it keeps the leaves from molding and suffocating your lawn or becoming a breeding ground for debris. Find yourself the best leaf mulcher for your needs, and in no time, you’ll have your yard cleaned up and ready for next spring.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

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Billy Cadden

Senior Director of Commerce

Billy Cadden is the Senior Director of Commerce for the science, tech, and outdoor group at Recurrent. He began working as the Commerce Editor at PopSci in 2017, where he spent 5 years diving deep into every product he could get his hands on. Cadden splits his time between Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, and Woodstock with his dog Wanda. He spends his time seeking new coffee shops and writing for his solo music project